February 11, 2013

The Sugar (Part 2) - Diabetes is an Asshole

If you just found this, you may want to start with this: The Sugar (Part 1)

It was probably a blessing that we found out on Trick-or-Treat night.  If we had taken Moo trick-or-treating and then let her have one or two pieces of candy (pretty usual for us) she could have gone into a Diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a serious condition that occurs when the body cannot breakdown blood glucose for energy and instead breaks down fat (this is what makes the Atkins diet work).  Breaking down fat produces ketones which are poisonous to the body in large amounts (this is what makes the Atkins diet potentially dangerous).

Her blood sugar had been so high for so long that there is no telling what would have pushed her over the edge from "functional" to something life-threatening.  Normal blood sugar should range between 70 and 100.  Moo's was over 500.  They tested it several times at the Emergency Room because they couldn't believe she wasn't acting loopy or having any issues functioning relatively normally--given her height and weight.  She is pretty tall and thin for her age and was even more so than she should have been at the time; she hadn't really put much weight on the previous year due to her body burning fat for energy, instead of glucose.  


Sometimes high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, along with extreme thirst and blurry vision can cause confusion.  They eventually surmised that her body had learned to adjust to it's prolonged hyperglycemic state.

We stayed in the ER for a few hours before they sent us up to a room.  One thing the hospital was pretty good about was making sure that you were comfortable with the day-to-day bullshit before they sent you home with The Sugar.  In other words:  we were in for a few days, at least.  I spent less time "learning" what to do with her when she was a newborn--with less experience and more to do.

As it turns out, the Sarge and I are a pretty good team.  He (being a firefighter/EMT) was very comfortable with the medical stuff, and I (being a dork and really good at math) was excellent at computing insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios in my head so that we didn't overdose our kid on insulin or jack her blood sugar up with too many carbs.  It's basically a big numbers game, only the numbers change constantly, so you can't just skate by at any given meal.  You gotta check the blood glucose level and crunch the numbers. EVERY. TIME.

Don't ever think you got it figured out, because then you'll get some wonky blood glucose reading or you'll count your carbs wrong and you're whole "system" is fucked up.  It sucks, and the whole time The Sugar is just giving you the finger and na-na-na-boo-booing you.  That's what it feels like anyway.  Diabetes is an asshole.

~Part 3~

(Let me say here that this was and still is our experience.  Moo is not on a pump--so we check the BG, dial up her dose on her insulin pen and give her a shot.  There are other ways and means that we have not explored yet.  Please do not bombard me with comments [haha, as if I have people slamming this blog with comments. allow me my moment of delusion...] about continuous glucose monitors, pumps and artificial pancreases.  We'll get to that shit in our own good time, but thanks for the info.)

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